Burrowing Yard Pests

There are many types of yard pests, from insects to mammals, but those that burrow can cause extensive damage to plants and lawns. The most destructive burrowing mammals are the ones which feed on underground lamps and ruin ornamental plants and vegetable gardens. Methods of control are offered for individuals dealing with these typical burrowing pests once the pest is identified.

California Ground Squirrel

California ground squirrels have brownish-gray fur and are 14 to 20 inches in length with a slightly bushy tail. They live among large classes in underground burrows. These pests damage yards since they dig burrow entrances, digging up dirt and rocks that are left in the lawn. These squirrels prefer to dig near tree roots and this also causes damage to your tree’s root system, leading to tree death. Control of the California ground squirrel includes placing traps, poison baits and fumigation.

Pocket Gophers

Pocket gophers are between 6 and 10 inches long with short fur. They dig with their large-clawed front feet and live one gopher per ejaculate. The pocket gopher is aptly named for its cheek pouches or pockets, which it uses to carry food and nesting materials. These pests use their sense of smell to locate plant bulbs and tubers to eat and sometimes return to the burrow to consume after. They feed on a variety of plant bulbs and tubers, and especially enjoy carrots and potatoes. After the gopher finishes eating the lights, the plants wither and die. Traps are available to control pocket gophers and you can also use underground fencing made from 3/4-inch poultry cable. To decrease gopher populations, you will need to monitor weekly as these bugs are busy year round.

Voles and Moles

Moles and voles are burrowing pests, but moles tend to be less damaging than voles because moles do not feed on plants. Moles are dark gray, between 6 to 8 inches long and have large front feet for digging. Voles resemble large furry mice, are brown, 4 to 6 inches long, and unlike mice, have short tails. They might lead to damage to origins while digging, but this isn’t intentional. Voles do consume many kinds of plant seeds, bulbs and rhizomes. These pests also feed on tree bark, which results in girdling. Voles create shallow burrows and continue through runways. They are difficult to control, since there are no repellents for them and fencing does not operate as well. Nonetheless, you trap them using a regular mousetrap.


Chipmunks are little rodents 3 to 5 inches long with two tan and five black stripes down their back and a 3- to 4-inch-long hairy tail. They burrow to achieve and feed on plant bulbs and tubers. They also feed on seeds, plant seedlings and grass seed. When they burrow, it’s often near patios, foundations and other places where the burrows may cause structural damage. To control these small pests you can construct barriers utilizing wire mesh to prevent them from reaching plant bulbs. There are also live-catch traps available, which means it’s possible to eliminate chipmunks from your lawn, or you may use rat traps if the lawn is overrun with them.

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